PR filling gaps in news coverage—sometimes questionably

Pew’s State of the News Media 2013 report is discouraging for journalists and offers a mixed bag for PR professionals.

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The Pew Research Center report, “The State of the News Media 2013,” says the power of journalism is shrinking as the news industry continues to cut jobs and news coverage.

“This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands,” according to the Pew report released today.

The good news, at least for PR professionals, is that the public’s hunger for news holds steady and that those with information to share are getting better at using digital technology, bypassing media outlets, and taking messages directly to the public.

The report cited an example of how business leaders in Detroit created an organization to serve as a “tour guide to journalists” with the goal of injecting more favorable portrayals of the city into media coverage.

Pew said the overstretched editorial resources are also creating some less desirable interactions with PR professionals. Agenda-driven propaganda campaigns are showing up in news outlets under journalists’ bylines, and some PR pitches are offering rewards for coverage.

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